Costume for Clara Zachanassian in The Visit

Costume for Clara Zachanassian in The Visit

Théàtre de Complicité was one of the most successful companies of the 1980s and 1990s, bringing new insight to plays with their own brand of physical and intellectual theatre. In 1988 they produced Friedrich Dürrenmatt's The Visit, a play about how people can be bought and corrupted by wealth. The leading character is the billionairess Clara, played by the extraordinary Kathryn Hunter with a voice one critic described as 'marinaded in sex and cynicism', moving on crutches, which expressed the emotionally and morally crippled character, and hell-bent on revenge on the man who seduced her as a teenager. For her, Rae Smith designed this extraordinary wedding suit - a cream satin overlaid with a lattice creating a patchwork effect with the trims of fur, braids, beads, feathers, nets and all kinds of ornamentation. It is a superbly mad costume that reflects the fragmented twisted thinking of the character. It was worn with a vast striped train, covered with all kinds of underwear, from panties to corsets.